Why Call Alice Donovan a Troll?

The WaPo and CounterPunch have the story of Alice Donovan, a pseudonymous persona the FBI suspected (it’s not clear starting when) of being part of a Russian influence operation. The WaPo makes it clear sources told them about the investigation (though without clearly revealing when FBI identified Donovan or when they learned about the investigation) and leaked the report behind this story (or perhaps it is all one report).

The FBI was tracking Donovan as part of a months-long counterintelligence operation code-named “NorthernNight.” Internal bureau reports described her as a pseudonymous foot soldier in an army of Kremlin-led trolls seeking to undermine America’s democratic institutions.

[snip]

The events surrounding the FBI’s NorthernNight investigation follow a pattern that repeated for years as the Russian threat was building: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies saw some warning signs of Russian meddling in Europe and later in the United States but never fully grasped the breadth of the Kremlin’s ambitions.

CP first learned about it when Adam Entous called about the leaked intelligence report on her.

We received a call on Thursday morning, November 30, from Adam Entous, a national security reporter at the Washington Post. Entous said that he had a weird question to ask about one of our contributors. What did we know about Alice Donovan? It was indeed an odd question. The name was only faintly familiar. Entous said that he was asking because he’d been leaked an FBI document alleging that “Alice Donovan” was a fictitious identity with some relationship to Russia. He described the FBI document as stating that “Donovan” began pitching stories to websites in early 2016. The document cites an article titled “Cyberwarfare: Challenge of Tomorrow.”

And CP reveals they first came to believe that Donovan was fake (and not just a serial plagiarist) when a NYT story listed Donovan’s account among those that Facebook had shut down as fake.

This long story focused on dozens of phony Facebook accounts which the Times claims pushed pro-Russian messages during the election. Buried in the 28th paragraph of the story was the name “Alice Donovan.” Donovan’s Facebook page, the Times said, “pointed to documents from Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundations that she said showed its pro-American tilt and — in rather formal language for Facebook — describe eventual means and plans of supporting opposition movements, groups or individuals in various countries.’” According to the Times, Facebook had deactivated the Donovan account after it failed a verification protocol.

CP ends by noting that for the entirety of the period when FBI was investigating this pseudonymous persona, they never informed CP.

If the FBI was so worried about the risks posed by Alice Donovan’s false persona, they could have tipped off some of the media outlets she was corresponding with. But in this case they refrained for nearly two years. Perhaps they concluded that Donovan was the hapless and ineffectual persona she appears to be. More likely, they wanted to continue tracking her. But they couldn’t do that without also snooping on American journalists and that represents an icy intrusion on the First Amendment. For a free press to function, journalists need to be free to communicate with whomever they want, without fear that their exchanges are being monitored by federal agencies. A free press needs to be free to make mistakes and learn from them. We did.

It’s an interesting example — and given my prior focus on Facebook’s intelligence apparatus (one reiterated by the revelation that Facebook has been taking down NK infrastructure of its own accord) — one that raises questions about whether FBI identified this persona or FB did.

But I’m wondering why both WaPo and CP are calling the Donovan persona a troll. While it sounds like Donovan’s election related interventions were trollish about Hillary, some of what she published at CP and other outlets clearly supported Russian policy objectives (that CP might legitimately agree with) or — as CP notes — mirrored mainstream reporting on Clinton’s emails.

Donovan served not just to poison debate, as trolls do.

So I’m wondering why people are using that term. I’m wondering, in part, why we should distinguish Donovan’s authorship (or plagiarism) of articles from leaks from foreign intelligence services, which news articles have long relied on, whether Israeli, Saudi, or Russian sources (remember, for example, how presumed Yemeni or Saudi sources have repeatedly revealed details of US or UK double agents). A number of people in DC have laughed with me about the way that Rinat Akhmetshin — a central figure in the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting and as such suspected of doing Russian intelligence bidding — has long regaled mainstream journalists as a source. And I’ve suggested that Scott Balber — and American lawyer working for a Russian oligarch — may be fostering a cover story for the same meeting.

So why is one kind of intelligence disinformation called journalism and another called trolling?

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

78 replies
    • Mitchell says:

      Given that mainstream journalism is about as honest as trolling, yes, it’s a minor difference between the two, very little more than semantics. Of course, dishonesty and lies passed off as facts and truths are arguably worse than trolling, what with the image of honesty and legitimacy.

    • maybe ryan says:

      I guess the reason that EW can still question whether Donovan was a troll is because Donovan’s article Blacks Against Hillary” didn’t get picked up by CounterPunch, so everyone can pretend she was just pushing genuine news.  Nor did her fascinating investigative piece “Is the Dallas Shooting the First Spark of a Powder Keg?” with quotes like “the ongoing situation can be compared to a low-intensity civil war.”  Yeah, sure it can, you grotesque idiot and god-damned troll.

      Donovan was playing the full Putin-troll hand, including the hope that peddling race war could either spark one, or at least provoke a massive backlash.  That St. Clair didn’t pick up the ugliest bullshit she was selling is to his credit. That reading such submissions didn’t send him running for the toilet with a plastic bag in hand to try to purge out both ends, but rather, just left him thinking, “hmm, maybe next month she’ll send us something better” is deeply to his discredit.

      There’s really no question she’s a troll.

      • maybe ryan says:

        Oh, did I forget to mention her honest dissents “Hillary and Obama sell arms to ISIS” and “Russia to Destroy Terrorists in Aleppo.”  Or “Bogus Assault on Mosul” timed to support the Trump weirdo attacks during the debates. There are honest reasons to have questioned the assault on Mosul, but neither Trump nor Alice Donovan came up with any.

        How about “Hezbullah Spotted Using US Military Vehicles”?  Just another honest dissent from the straightforward, innocent Alice Donovan.

        WTF?

        • emptywheel says:

          I’m honestly perplexed why you think I’m suggesting Alice Donovan is “innocent.”

          I suggested nothing of the sort. I suggested the word “troll” is not the appropriate one. Do I need to use smaller words?

          • maybe ryan says:

            In part, I was influenced by reading the ridiculous CP apologia, and the comments here, all of which had me feeling that the tenor of the post is “what Donovan/CP did isn’t so bad.  Everyone does it.”  A sentiment I regard as preposterous.

            But re-reading, much of your peroration does seem to downplay Donovan’s trollishness, rather than to suggest she did something worse.  These paragraphs:

            >But I’m wondering why both WaPo and CP are calling the Donovan persona a troll. While it sounds like Donovan’s election related interventions were trollish about Hillary, some of what she published at CP and other outlets clearly supported Russian policy objectives (that CP might legitimately agree with) or — as CP notes — mirrored mainstream reporting on Clinton’s emails.

            >’Donovan served not just to poison debate, as trolls do’

            seemed to imply that there was some value to her other articles that outweighed her trollishness and made the term inapt.

            And likewise:

            >So I’m wondering why people are using that term. I’m wondering, in part, why we should distinguish Donovan’s authorship (or plagiarism) of articles from leaks from foreign intelligence services, which news articles have long relied on, whether Israeli, Saudi, or Russian sources (remember, for example, how presumed Yemeni or Saudi sources have repeatedly revealed details of US or UK double agents). 

            That to me reads again as a defense of Donovan, since for the most part, I tend to read the term ‘leaks’ in a positive way, since on balance, they are useful glimpses into otherwise secretive areas. Their veracity is generally weighed by reporters and editors, even if it can’t be confirmed.

            Perhaps there were other hints I should have paid more attention to that suggest your attitude towards Donovan is not positive.  You seem to regard “leaks” as a more neutral term.  Thinking about your history, I get why you might think that.  Nonetheless, I do not, and I suspect most people who give any thought to the subject of leaks hear the term the way I do.  If what you’re saying is “Donovan isn’t a troll.  She’s more of a leaker in the classic intelligence agency mold,” then I think most people would read that as mitigating her offense rather than compounding it.

            There’s another point I hesitate to make, but will.  Sometimes the tendentiousness and polemics of your writing can make it difficult for me to determine exactly where you’re pointing.  I wouldn’t write that in a fresh thread, but mention it here in a thread that’s mostly dead, with few returners likely to read it as an insult.  I mean it as mild constructive criticism.

            Not that my writing is better. It is not.  But I’ll mention this because it is a feeling that does often comes to mind when I’m reading the site.  Obviously, I keep coming back nonetheless.

  1. Willis Warren says:

    CounterPunch has always been a russian prop farm.  That’s one of the websites that Matt Taibi called WaPo out when PropOrNot published that list.   I’m still pissed about that, because that list was fucking good, though it’s far more complete now….

    • emptywheel says:

      Bullshit. It has always been a site that presented non-mainstream views, sometimes from very very credible sources. When you treat all dissent as Russian you do Putin’s work for him.

  2. Rapier says:

    After batting the “why is one kind” question around for awhile it occurred to me that the much of what is called journalism on the one hand or  trolling on the other are the same thing, more properly called Public Relations. In the Edward Bernays sense.

    • emptywheel says:

      That we’re describing something (disinfo) using a term that means something different (deliberate but personal agitation)?

      Not an apt description.

  3. bell says:

    “FBI document alleging that “Alice Donovan” was a fictitious identity with some relationship to Russia.” alleging and fictitious being the key take away words…

    “For a free press to function, journalists need to be free…., without fear that their exchanges are being monitored by federal agencies.” unless the press has been bought out by federal agencies, in which case the idea is mute..

    “raises questions about whether FBI identified this persona or FB did.” or whether fb is yet another fbi asset..

    “So why is one kind of intelligence disinformation called journalism and another called trolling?” depends on how one wants to spin something, doesn’t it?

  4. Fool says:

    If you told me that the FBI claimed to find a Kremlin-linked journ0bot, I would probably facetiously respond, “What’s their evidence — that she was ranting about George Soros in the New York Times?”

  5. bmaz says:

    Damn. If that would be your response, you might want to go read up on on what “evidence” is in actual legal proceedings, delineate who “they/their” are, and get your head out of your ass about George Soros and the NY Times.

    Other than that though, truly brilliant!!

    • Willis Warren says:

      Interestingly, the George Soros hard on started as a “what about…” response for the Kochs.  When Soros started pushing anti Kremlin causes, then they jumped on board the already established demonization network.  Now the volume is about 11

    • matt says:

      George Soros OSF operated with the CIA to orchestrate the Ukraine Orange Revolution that supported NATO/US friendly, Yushchenko in 2004… any wonder why a pro-Russian operative/blogger/troll/whatever would be critical of him?  Just because Soros is a “liberal” does not give him immunity from legitimate criticism.   Soros deserves his fair share of conspiracy accusations, just like the Koch’s or Mercers.

          • matt says:

            Was my statement categorically false? –  That OSF had been operating in Ukraine to influence elections? Teddy bear or not, does a wealthy American have the right to interfere in international elections? Look, I agree with much of Soro’s world view in theory, but “spreading democracy” in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and the Middle East was not just a “philanthropic” endeavor.

            • bell says:

              it seems the way americans filter these differences is based on internal usa politics… if americans were able to get outside of there exceptional nation mentality and consider soros or koch brothers actions on the world stage, they would recognize what a sleaze ball soros is.. as for the koch brothers, they are just typical kleptomaniacs focused on stealing from others inside the usa.. that is the difference as i see it.. soros is an international kleptomaniac..

  6. SpaceLifeForm says:

    There are trolls, and there are reverse trolls.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/26/go-ask-alice-the-curious-case-of-alice-donovan/

    “Entous said that he was asking because he’d been leaked an FBI document alleging that…”

    There is the problem. Do not bite on ‘leaks’.

    Actually, a triple misdirection problem.

    No evidence of leak.
    No evidence of FBI.
    Allegedly implying something.

    “Our view of Donovan changed rather abruptly when one of our searches turned up a September 7, 2017 New York Times article by Scott Shane titled “The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election.” This long story focused on dozens of phony Facebook accounts which the Times claims pushed pro-Russian messages during the election. Buried in the 28th paragraph of the story was the name “Alice Donovan.” Donovan’s Facebook page, the Times said, “pointed to documents from Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundations that she said showed its pro-American tilt and — in rather formal language for Facebook — describe eventual means and plans of supporting opposition movements, groups or individuals in various countries.’” According to the Times, Facebook had deactivated the Donovan account after it failed a verification protocol.”

    [Except]

    Six days after we first wrote to her, she replied in a brief email, in which she made a revealing admission. She said that she was indeed the Alice Donovan referred to in the New York Times story on false identities.

    [False identities. Hmmm]

    [AD likely a CIA group, not an individual]

  7. J-Mann says:

    Funny, Willis Warren claims CP spouts pro-Putin material.

    Seems to me this is 100% accurate –

    “Paradoxically, the main reason for Putin’s popularity in Russia is the same reason he’s so reviled in the US and Western Europe. It comes down to the simple but salient fact that when it comes to leadership and political nous Vladimir Putin is playing chess while his counterparts in London, Washington, and Paris are playing chequers.”

    Painful truth /= propaganda Willis.

      • J-Mann says:

        Now you’re complaining about zero hedge?  Your original post said nothing about zero hedge.

        Keep your Prop goalposts fixed in one spot, will you?

        • Avattoir says:

          To those inclined to lament the quality of troll invading one of their favorite sites, AFAIK top drawer winger trolls, of the level of quality capable of defeating critical thinking, don’t appear to exist.

          Which is not to suggest either that winger trolls don’t proliferate or that there aren’t grades of them.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      CP is more often critical of American exceptionalism and its exceptional lack of self-awareness about what our actions are really like on the receiving end, than it is pro-Russia.

      That Putin might be more talented than Mr. Trump is to compare an NBA star to the high school team’s waterboy.

      Mr. Putin, like all autocrats, first and foremost acts in his own best interests, then his clan’s and his peers, then his country’s biggest corporations, then his country, and then, occasionally, other things.  That Mr. Trump has similar priorities takes nothing away from the observation that he is far less skilled at the game.  It doesn’t mean either places US national interests high among their priorities, except perhaps in their propaganda.

       

    • matt says:

      Totally agree with EOH… to J-Mann, I say…

      (1) – a message you don’t like = propaganda

      (2) – a messenger you don’t like = troll

       

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        That is where a reverse troll shows up.

        Regarding your two points.

        And I agree with J-Mann.

        He/She is not trolling.

  8. Willis Warren says:

    I feel like I wasn’t clear about my issue with CP.  So, forgive me, but I was giving a toddler a haircut.

    Ahem.  I’m not against dissent, lefties (I was Naomi Klein before she was) or any kind of anti capitalism ideology in general (I was situationist before it was obscurely uncool).  I love arguments of all kinds, especially good ones that don’t rely on intellectual dishonesty.

    CounterPunch obviously doesn’t vet their sources.  You know why?  because they don’t pay anyone who submits to their online published content.

    I find that a little bit douchey.  Hey, guys, I have this great analysis about how the Bush administration fucked up in Iraq, and Wolfowitz and Cheney put Leo Strauss’ philosophy and Friedman’s circulation of curency economics ideas to the test and got their asses handed to them!

    Ok, but we’re not going to pay you for that.

    UGH!!!

     

    Where was I?  Oh, CounterPunch (at least in the online venue) produced some pretty sketchy stuff over the last two years.  While you may occasinaly get the Masha or the Ken Silverstein lovely rant, there’s a lot of goo.  PropOrNot merely pointed that out and were attacked, unfairly imo.

  9. Ross Snider says:

    They use the word troll because that’s the us intelligence information campaign term. “Propagandist” is a term that could equally apply to the US operation, whereas “troll” presumably only applies to those questioning the dominant narrative. The US intelligence campaign can safely introduce the word “troll”, which has most of the ‘right’ negative connotations, without risking much blowback.

    The term is used across the industry, like “bulk collection” was during the global surveillance disclosures. It’s a spook term and it was never anything else.

  10. buckeye666 says:

    “CounterPunch obviously doesn’t vet their sources”
    You may get the occasional decent article, but you have to wade through crap like Diana Johnstone. Why bother? There are other places out there who can provide better analysis and articles and don’t print something just because it’s anti-US foreign policy/anti-capitalist.

  11. greengiant says:

    Is the EW troll infestation from the likes of anonymous Donovan or the likes of some Cohen-Watnick affiliates?

  12. Rapier says:

    Go ask Alice I think she’ll know

    I was waiting for this, to follow Alice into Wonderland. I knew it was coming. It didn’t take long.

    The spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. on Tuesday of a “direct interference in our electoral process” after the State Department came out against the Kremlin’s decision to prevent opposition leader Alexey Navalny from running against Vladimir Putin in the upcoming presidential election.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/russia-accuses-us-direct-interference-presidential-election

    White Rabbit

    When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
    And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low

    Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know

    When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
    And the white knight is talking backwards
    And the red queen’s off with her head
    Remember what the dormouse said
    Feed your head, feed your head

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      ;-)

      Yep, feed your head. Educate yourself. Read. Look at alternative viewpoints. And if you disagree, come up with logical reasons to disagree.

      Think outside the box.

      Otherwise, stick to faux noise and remained brainwashed. Then you do not have to actually fucking think! They will tell you all they want you to think!

      And if you are that stupid and do not want to educate yourself, well, at the least you could do is stop voting.

      I recommend trying some mushrooms.
      It may be a start.

  13. matt says:

    bell, I read the article you linked at 5:04 yesterday.  I hope all here will read it.   A short quote that makes a good point, I think-

    “The Democratic Party has now developed a new outlook on the world, a more ambitious partnership between liberal humanitarian interventionists and neoconservative militarists than existed under the cautious Obama. This may be the most disastrous consequence for the Democratic Party of the new anti-Russian orthodoxy: the loss of the opportunity to formulate a more humane and coherent foreign policy. The obsession with Putin has erased any possibility of complexity from the Democratic world picture.”

    Progressives don’t agree on everything, and I hope that is OK on Emptywheel.  I for one am anti-war in the current foreign policy arena, and am very much for domestic ideals of FDR & Bernie.  I will defend ObamaCare fiercely, along with racial/gender equality.  That said, I have studied American interventions since WWII and am very much against American exceptionalism or “Primacy” under the guise of moral superiority.  An objective view of our tenure as world Superpower, lends to serious self criticism as many of our interventions have been motivated by greed and power… the same motivations we abhor in others like Putin.

    Do I like Trump? No.  Am I happy for the in depth analysis regarding the Russia investigation here at EW? Yes.  I would hope that my admixture of progressive viewpoints is tolerable to most reading these threads… and that leads me to bmaz.

    bmaz, you should monitor legitimate trolling, the likes of which contain absence language, ad hominem attacks, heckling, and obvious falsehoods.  However, I see some your quips, threats, and insults, as a violation of your own comment policy.

    • lefty665 says:

      “The Democratic Party has now developed a new outlook on the world, a more ambitious partnership between liberal humanitarian interventionists and neoconservative militarists than existed under the cautious Obama…”

      Nah, it is the same old outlook. Elite neoliberal to the bone. Obama followed Hillary’s neocon (neolib humanitarian interventionists just puts lipstick on that neocon pig) advocacy of an Afghan surge, destruction of Libya, arming Al Qaeda in Syria, couping in Honduras, etc, etc, etc.

      “This may be the most disastrous consequence for the Democratic Party of the new anti-Russian orthodoxy: the loss of the opportunity to formulate a more humane and coherent foreign policy. The obsession with Putin has erased any possibility of complexity from the Democratic world picture.”

      Dem tantrums and hysteria over Hillary’s loss has transformed a majority of the Party into anti-Russian useful idiots for the neocon, elite neoliberals who run it, and yes it is disastrous.

      Ed’s recent series here “The slow death of Neoliberalism” is worth re-reading, as is his current series “Systems of Domination”.

      • matt says:

        That’s the frustration.  A progressive can no longer accept the allegiance of the Democratic party to big business and the Military Industrial Complex in exchange for sympathy for domestic social programs and lip service to gender equality.

      • Desider says:

        Hey dudes, Jefferson Airplane/Children of the Revolution discussion is 1 section up – can we keep you all compartmentalized at least while you try to teach us to read what we said we had no interest in? Waiting for someone to post the Communist Manifesto here.
        PS – you now know I’m not one of the “moderators”, because on a site where I am, I’d have you blocked and gone by now, including your IP noted. Instead, I’ll just insult and taunt you until hopefully you catch a clue, though whether there’s something called a “cluebot”, I don’t know.
        PPS – as reminder, the theme of these here diary is “was Alice Donovan a troll” or is it appropriate to call her such. I guess since the word’s in the title, anything trollish you do is tangentially on-topic – feeding, preening, basking in rare daylight – but overall there’s a neglected topic to support.

  14. Splashoil says:

    Troll has been around since at least 2008 as a pejorative usually reserved for critics of the Obama administration and Obamacare. Markos had his sycophants at Dailykos employ it against advocates of Single Payer during the “discussions” about health care at that site. Had my ears burned there and “hide rated” banished for good.
    Interesting to hear of the new usage. Maybe time to dust off Orwell’s two minute hate for the Russiagate discussions. Lord knows that is all we can discuss….

    • Robert says:

      I would add that climate change denial trolls have infested message boards and other fora on the internet prior to the Obama administration.  In many cases, it is apparent that the trolls have no real understanding of the issues involved, but are simply cutting and pasting canned talking points. Though crafted to sound plausible, these are likely based on logical fallacies and misrepresentations of facts, and often involve logically inconsistent ideas.   While it is difficult to know to what extent someone is acting on their own and simply parroting things they have seen on websites or other places, or working as part of an organized effort, I have little doubt that the latter is important. This propaganda campaign has certainly had a considerable effect in North America – it has made it politically possible to get away with claims that “the science is not settled” and therefore need not be taken seriously.

  15. Tom in AZ says:

    I have been around here for almost as long as anyone else. I may not comment often, and lately mostly to call out wayoutwest for being the sock-puppet troll he is everywhere I run across him on the toobz. ;). I have also read CP for years. And lots of others, a dozen or two almost daily, at least to check. Foreign and domestic. Even ZH, if for no other reason than many times they post something abut an event or incident before I see it other places. Not that I believe or agree with most of their positions, but as a pointer to go looking for the facts about what they post.

    Screaming fake news, or Russia bad, or propaganda! about everything disagreeing with the domestic press reports from anonymous press releases is just a waste of time. Most of what we are served up by print or cable is horribly bad and totally fact free, if not outright government propaganda. Which has been legalized again domestically under Shrub, and to the rest of the world since the Clinton years.

    So, none of any of these sources come to us clean or without an agenda. When you get done with something, has it said anything, or just implied everything? Is it leading you down a path based on some anonymous consensus or even better yet an ‘it’s pretty well known’ by not one named source? Is what CP or RT or South Front more accurately reporting the facts than BBC or Harretz. or WP, the NYT, CNN or whoever? Personally, I get way more pissed at from our MSM every damn day than most of the ‘bad’ sources. Because I like to think I can understand most of what I read. And I am not talking about the constant presenting of editorializing drivel as reporting. I am talking about fact based reporting, the bait and switching, the refusal to cover, much less question a policy.

    And if we are going to bitch and moan about ‘meddling in our democracy’ let’s revisit William Blum (one word, dot org. for the Master List of us overthrowing other people’s governments. And even it doesn’t include Serbia or oddly Russia.

    Sorry to run on. I just think our problems are domestic not foreign, and we are being gutted from within…

     

  16. Tom in AZ says:

    Sorry for the odd sentence here and there. While editing, I failed to slowing proofread it again. Hope it doesn’t detract overly much.

    • matt says:

      It was reading William Blum, “Killing Hope.” that first made me question foreign actions taken in the name of my country.  I wanted believe that at least one party was on the “right” side of freedom and democracy.  But, since Kennedy, no Democratic or Republican administration has been able to challenge the lure of Empire.

  17. wayoutwest says:

    @Robert

    It’s been a terrible year for CAGW alarmists with loss and exposure from many causes. You are no longer a deciple of a state religion even though a whole generation had been indoctrinated through schools, governmet, media and everything else.. Enough skeptics and even hereticts have saved science from becoming just political science.

    The Warmer elite have been reduced to foaming mouthed personal attacks as their computer models continue to fail to accurately predict anything but the Warmer rubes still worship their NWO priests and cling to their cult.

  18. Rebecca H says:

    I think “troll” has just become shorthand for anything dishonest/politically motivated on the internet. I just listened to an interview with Ellen Nakashima on the Slate Trumpcast and they didn’t use the word “troll.” She referred to AD as a “sock puppet”- since she argues that Alice Donovan was a persona invented by someone in Russian intelligence. That interview is also very good in providing context of USIA and other information campaigns, without being at all “hysterical”.  Having published AD should be an embarrassment to CP.

    • bell says:

      the way the term gets used around here is for anyone who has a different point of view then the dominant view here at ew… see bmaz for many examples.. he doesn’t want someone posting – they get called a troll..

      • Desider says:

        Fuck off – he wants adult discussion ON TOPIC like we used to have, not the diarrhea spreading of distraction like you keep bringing. ALICE MOTHERFYUCKING DONOVAN – can you fucking read? Anything else, flush it.

        Here’s a tip – I go to Marcie’s titles and choose Subjects I want to read about. If I’m not interested, I DON’T READ IT. But a Subject line is supposed to be a tip about what content’s inside. When I find you as a crackerjack box surprise inside, I’M PISSED. So PISS OFF, CRACKER.

        • bell says:

          lol.. typical hostility from another ew commentator.. learn how to not hit the reply button if you want to set an example..

          • Desider says:

            I wanted to set an example of hostility towards losers. Don’t need to “learn” that skill. Now go troll some site where they appreciate juvenile contributions, so we can get back to the legalese that’s obviously over your head.

  19. matt says:

    Desider, I apologize for going off topic. The long-timers here are very devoted to Marcy, and the other founders- I get that. It is because EW is a great site, that it is ranking high in search, and thus attracting “the public.” I was blown away by some of the intelligent posts when I found the site a few months back.

    It is probably hard for those of you who have been here from the beginning to suffer through some comments from “newbies.”

    That said, I will give you all a chance to send me away – if any three of you long-timers here, after evaluating my comments (from other threads, not this one)- feel the questions and point of view I have are unacceptable to EW, please reply with a “please leave.” I will gladly honor your request.

    -Matt

    • Desider says:

      What’s the big need to comment? It’s a blog written by lawyers discussing legal & security cases along with dissecting complex legal documents tied to trials for known political figures & protesters/leakers (e.g. Bradley/Chelsea Manning),FISA, NSA/CIA/FBI surveillance, etc. or understanding dense legalese of new legislation or court decisions – lots of stuff I’m not qualified to parse or comment on, and am amazed that Marcy & others can even read these thick heavy docs as fast as they do.

      In general I don’t comment unless (very rarely) I suspect I have a piece of relevant info they might not have seen here, or even rarer feel an objection to something or feel I can clarify a point. This might have been 10 comments over a decade, excluding recent attempts to keep spammers from derailing the conversation. The non-Marcy posts are slightly different, but the meat of the site is the EmptyWheel analysis I think we can all agree.

      • bmaz says:

        No, we encourage people to comment and lend their thoughts. There is a certain ebb and flow  here that has long been the style of our comment threads. It takes some getting used to. Realize it, and post smart stuff and do so at will. Discussion is good.

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